Making the decision to take the keys away from an aging parent takes careful consideration. With dementia affecting millions of adults every year, everyone should know the warning signs that it is time to take the keys from parents.
There are a few indications that safety concerns warrant taking away the keys.
Taking new medications
Stay informed of every medication that your parent takes. Consider side effects that may alter visual acuity, reaction time and rational thinking. If your parent receives a prescription for something that may interfere with driving abilities, be mindful and consider taking their keys.
Trouble driving at night
When you notice progressive challenges with nighttime driving, even if daytime driving seems okay, you should consider having a conversation about limiting driving time.
Even with GPS navigation, cognitive declines can lead to wrong turns, trouble reasoning directions and getting lost. If your parent is getting lost more frequently, discuss the safety concerns and the benefits of taking their keys.
Inability to sustain safe speeds
With age, cognitive performance can slow down. Sometimes, this results in discomfort with routine speeds on the roadways. If your parent is driving significantly slower than other cars on the road, struggling with lane changes and making unsafe turns, that indicates that the time has come to give up those keys.
Keeping your parents and others safe from auto accidents means stepping up and taking away their keys when necessary. Recognizing the signs of trouble can help you intervene before your parents face serious challenges.